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FIFA 16 to include women's teams for the first time

Twelve international women's teams will be playable in EA's FIFA offering for this year, with new tech and models created specifically for female players.

It's been a long time coming, but EA's FIFA series is finally putting female players into the game.

FIFA 16 will include 12 of the top women's international teams -- including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the USA -- and will be playable across multiple modes. While those modes are yet to be confirmed, EA has stated that women's teams will not be able to be played against men's teams in order to remain "authentic" to real-world football.

The inclusion isn't a mere reskinning of existing players, however. According to FIFA 16 producer Nick Shannon, new technology -- including animations, body types, and even hair physics -- had to be retooled or created from scratch to accommodate the introduction of female players.

We talked to Shannon to find out more details about women's teams in FIFA 16

How long has this been in the works?

Nick Shannon: It's been a while. The most important thing for us when we wanted to add the women's international teams was that we wanted to do it right. We wanted to do it properly. For us to be able to do that, there were a lot of things that we actually had to change within our game. We wanted to make sure that the body types looked good, so we actually created new body types. We created new body scaling technology that's actually helped with the men as well, so you'll now see a bigger differentiation with a tall, skinny player than a bigger, well-built player. That was down to us wanting to make the women's models look right in the game.

We also wanted to make sure we could get our scanning technology. We sent that out on the road, so we've scanned many of the teams to make sure we make the faces look as authentic as possible. We've never been able to do hair simulation during game play as the we've had problems maintaining 60 frames a second. We managed to be able to do that and maintain 60 as well. We wanted to do it right. We wanted to do it properly. This year was the year that we could do that.

It seemed like there was quite a lot of work to put into this. Can you quantify how much extra development it took?

NS: It's not really something we're looking at because ultimately a lot of these things, as I said with hair and body types, are across the entire game, and it was something we needed to do to make the women's feature run properly.

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Electronic Arts

Why is now a good time to introduce female players?

NS:It's the right time because we're able to get the technology in place to do it properly. It's as simple as that.

Is this something that you're looking to expand in future features?

NS:We'll see. I mean we obviously don't really talk about the future -- we're still focused on what we're doing this year. Beyond that, we'll have to wait and see. We'll again listen to feedback and what people liked and didn't like about it. Then we'll go from there. We're just really excited to be bringing it to players.